Boston Marathon champ Des Linden is officially entering the world of ultramarathoning, as she has announced that she will attempt to break the 50K world record next month. In mid-April at an undisclosed location (details are intentionally vague because of pandemic concerns), she will take a crack at U.K. runner Aly Dixon‘s record of 3:07:20, which she set in 2019.
In October, Linden invited runners to participate in a challenge she called Run Destober, in which each day, participants ran the number of kilometres (or miles) that corresponded to the date. For example, on October 1 participants ran one kilometre, and on October 31 they ran 31. In total, the challenge worked out to be either 496K or 496 miles. While this was a great way to engage the running community, it was also an effective way for Linden to slowly ramp up her weekly mileage and see how her body responded to the increased volume.
Back in August, Linden also expressed interest in ultramarathoning when she said in an interview that the Comrades Marathon and UTMB were on her bucket list. It is unclear whether this run will take place on the road or the trails, but either way, her result next month will be a good indicator of how she’ll fare when she finally decides to tackle the trails.
The headphone company Jaybird is supporting Linden during her record-breaking attempt, and the official announcement was made on their Instagram page on Tuesday. In order to beat Dixon’s time, Linden will need to maintain a pace of 3:44 per kilometre. Given that she ran approximately 3:22 per kilometre for her marathon personal best of 2:22:38, this pace doesn’t seem unattainable, but of course, in a 50K race, it’s hard to say what could happen in the last 8K. We will be waiting for her result in April, and if she accomplishes her goal we expect to see Linden attempt more ultras in the future.